Texas has some of the strictest narcotics laws in the country, and even offenders who have not been in trouble with the law before can be sent to jail for possessing even small quantities of controlled substances in the Lone Star State. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies drugs into schedules based on their addictive properties and medical value. In Texas, these schedules were used to create four drug penalty groups. Marijuana is classified separately.
The Texas drug penalty groups
These drug penalty groups are used to determine drug possession sentences in Texas. Drug penalty group one includes highly addictive controlled substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. This penalty group also has subgroups for LSD and fentanyl. Drug penalty group two includes hallucinogens like psilocybin and mescaline, and drug penalty group three is where Texas lawmakers chose to place stimulants and depressants like diazepam, Xanax and lorazepam. Drug penalty group four contains prescription drugs with addictive properties like morphine, opium and Motofen.
Texas drug possession penalties
Possessing substances that are highly addictive and have few if any medical uses will lead to more serious drug charges and stiffer penalties in Texas than being found with controlled substances that are commonly used in medicine and not considered to be habit-forming. Penalties are based on they type of drug involved and the amount of it recovered by law enforcement. Possessing less than a gram of a penalty group one drug is charged as a state jail felony in Texas, but being found in possession of up to 28 grams of a penalty group four drug will only result in a Class B misdemeanor charge. The harshest penalties are handed down to offenders convicted of possessing 400 or more grams of a penalty group one, two, three or four drug. These offenders are charged with enhanced first-degree felonies, and they can be sent to prison for up to 99 years.
Rehabilitation and treatment
While the penalties for possessing controlled substances can be harsh in Texas, judges rarely hand down maximum sentences unless offenders have long criminal records. In most cases, the courts take the view that substance abuse should be treated rather than punished whenever possible.